EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It is getting worse by the minute. Each day that passes, the train wreck that is the New York Giants' 2017 season only gets uglier.
Ultimately it lands on Ben McAdoo. He's the head coach of a winless team that, from a distance, seems to be spiraling out of control.
How McAdoo handles this maelstrom could determine where his coaching career is headed. He can emerge as a strong leader capable of rallying his team despite a horrid start, some awful injury luck and plenty of controversy. Or he can ultimately be responsible for watching his team slip away into the abyss of embarrassment in just his second season.
A 1-15 or 2-14 disaster filled with consistently troubling moments doesn't seem unlikely right now. It's the one thing that McAdoo may not be able to able to survive, even after an 11-5 record and a playoff berth in his first season. The reputation of the Giants can't be soiled. That is the lone indiscretion that catches the attention of the normally patient Maras and Tisches.
The final 12 weeks of the season will be the true test for McAdoo. And it begins with his handling of the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie situation.
Rodgers-Cromartie is a popular, well-respected player in the defensive backs room. If he turns on the head coach, there is no saying how poorly this might end.
Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended after a series of events that included him leaving a recovery session on Friday, throwing his helmet in the fourth quarter Sunday and then walking into the locker room (before eventually returning to the sideline), according to sources. Rodgers-Cromartie later walked out of the Giants' facilities Wednesday after being told the previous day he would be benched and inactive Sunday in Denver.
In summation, Rodgers-Cromartie was collateral damage of the Odell Beckham Jr. touchdown celebration in which he pretended to be a dog urinating in the end zone. Following that episode, McAdoo promised to take action if a player acted inappropriately.
Rodgers-Cromartie's actions fell into that category. McAdoo felt he had to take action. Rodgers-Cromartie felt he was the fall guy. It didn't end well. Rodgers-Cromartie is left to ponder why he's the only one being held accountable.
This is exactly what McAdoo was talking about last year when he said he's putting out fires every day.
"You knew going in that there were going to be three dumpster fires every day and you deal with them as they come," he said at the time. "A lot of things cross your desk that you don't want to deal with, but it is part of the job and you handle it and you move on. You stay consistent, you stay in the moment and you keep everyone's best interest in mind."
McAdoo navigated all the potential pitfalls last year (Josh Brown, illegally using a walkie-talkie and Beckham's antics) with relative success. The Giants kept winning. That proved to be the ultimate deodorant for actions that didn't match the words.
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This year is different. The Giants aren't winning and the stench around the team is awful.
As if losing Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris in the same game wasn't enough, it may not even be close to the worst optic on the heels of the Giants' fifth straight loss. Rodgers-Cromartie's suspension makes it appear that everything has gone haywire. The perception is that McAdoo has lost this winless team.
"Not concerned about perception," McAdoo said. "Concerned about reality."
Except the reality is that the Giants are 0-5, Beckham and two other receivers were lost Sunday for the remainder of the season and now a veteran cornerback who has a lot of clout in the locker room has been suspended. This couldn't be going worse.
McAdoo and the Giants' reward? A Sunday night matchup in perhaps the league's most difficult venue against the NFL's top defense. Get the coach some Rolaids. He might feel queasy by the time it's over. The Giants have been outscored 68-20 in their past two games without Beckham. This might not be pretty Sunday night in Denver.
But the Giants will get something out of all this. They learn what kind of coach they hired to replace Tom Coughlin last year. Ben McAdoo is about to show them.